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Humanitarian Demining in Water (HDW)

Objective

There are around 70 million landmines deployed worldwide, with probably 15% laid in shallow inland water areas. Currently, there is no effective method for detecting and identifying these underwater mines. The BULRUSH consortium have a MOU with the Croatian Mine Action Centre (CROMAC) to validate a vehicle-based sensor system for humanitarian demining in water, using the unique DRUMS(tm) sonar and the Double Eagle ROV. The system will be certified to the UN 99.6% QA standard with CROMAC. TMS leads the system design and integration. The Guigne International (GIL) DRUMS(tm) high-resolution parametric sonar detects and identifies underwater buried objects. BOFORS supplies ROV technology. The sensor, vehicle and integration skills of the partners combine to develop and provide a safe, rapid and cost-effective solution to humanitarian demining in water.

Objectives:
To validate a vehicle-based sensor system for humanitarian demining in water that has the potential to offer a quantum increase in capability and productivity, Thomson Marconi Sonar SAS will design a prototype demining system exploiting Guigne, modular mine-detection and identification sonar components with TMS SAS operational software and an operationally-qualified remotely operated vehicle (ROV) from BOFORS, presently used in a marine mine-hunting role. The objective is for the ROV to carry the DRUMS (TM) sonar into a shallow water test site in which 1,000 deactivated landmines have been positioned. The prototype system will be tested to pass the UN standard for humanitarian demining by detecting at least 996 of these mines. The ultimate goal is for rapid detection and identification of all 1,000 mines.

Work description:
The approach to this project is to use the maximum number of off-the-shelf components, both hardware and software, to meet the program goals. This still leaves significant research and development components to the program, it is by no means a strictly "plug the blocks together" approach. The availability of these components reduces the technical risk factors. A three phase approach will provide clear visibility into the project, allow the continuous build-up of a database of targets and allow the progressive development, integration and testing of software and hardware modules. The first phase will build a field prototype of the sensor array to be installed on the vehicle.
This will provide early confirmation of the applicability of the sensor array, as well as allow it to be used for database development and sensor, algorithm and signal processing testing and troubleshooting in phase 2.
- Requirements and functional specification
- Rapid fabrication of Field Data Unit, a smaller prototype matrix sonar;
- Field deployment for data collection and creation of a buried landmine database
- Development and refinement of existing sonar target classification methodology and supporting software.

Phase 2 will see the integration of the sensor package into the vehicle as well as the development of the operator interface.
- Continuation of data collection and target classification methodology and supporting software;
- Fabrication of the full-scale prototype matrix sonar;
- Integration of the positioning system
- Refinement of existing and proven ROV-control software;
- Integration of the sonar with the ROV and final testing ;- Deployment of prototype to the test site

Phase 3 will involve the system level evaluation with reference to a further certification in Croatia.
- Completion of data collection and target classification methodology and supporting software
- Creation of a mine detection test site
- Test trials of the prototype at the test site.

Milestones:
1. Month 5: mockup of the final system with ability to collect data on mines, documentation and test resuls.
2. Month 13: data base on mines, final system integrated, documentation and test results.
3. End: result of the evaluation in the minefield test zone in Croatia, exploitation plan, final report.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

THALES UNDERWATER SYSTEMS SAS
Address
Route Des Dolines 525
06560 Parc De Sophia Antipolis Valbonne
France

Participants (2)

GUIGNE INTERNATIONAL LTD
Canada
Address
Thomas Line 685
A1L 1C1 Paradise, Newfoundland
SAAB BOFORS UNDERWATER SYSTEMS A.B.
Sweden
Address

591 29 Motala